Hearing Restoration Surgery
Some patients with a certain types of hearing loss may be good candidates for hearing restoration surgery. At ENT of Georgia South, our expert team of otolaryngologists have performed hundreds of successful hearing restoration surgical procedures that have greatly improved hearing capabilities. Depending on the type and severity of your hearing loss, we offer a variety of corrective surgical procedures such as cochlear implants, bone-implanted hearing aids, acoustic neuroma surgeries and laser stapes surgeries.
If it were possible to examine your stapes before you had a hearing loss, we would have seen tiny particles of bone around the stapes. These bone particles, which are not present around a normal stapes, gradually grow until they eventually stop the movement of the stapes. Usually, it takes many years before this hardening process stops the stapes from carrying sound to the hearing nerve.
Otosclerosis may involve other parts of the inner ear as well as the stapes. Otosclerosis, wherever it is found, can give off a toxic substance that damages the hearing nerve and causes a nerve hearing loss. Nerve hearing losses are permanent and cannot be restored by surgery or medicine. Another consequence of a nerve hearing loss is ear and head noises. These noises might sound louder when a person is tired, nervous or in a quiet place. The amount of ringing is not necessarily related to the amount of hearing loss. Very rarely does Otosclerosis alone cause total deafness.
TREATMENT OF OTOSCLEROSIS
For many years, there was little help for the patient with otosclerosis. However, as the result of research, an operation was developed to restore the hearing in patients with Otosclerosis. This operation is known as "stapedectomy." Former operations on the stapes, such as fenestration or stapes mobilization, have proven to be unsatisfactory. Because stapedectomy has a high rate of success, we now recommend stapedectomy for patients with otosclerosis.
In some patients, as mentioned before, the toxin from the otosclerosis will cause a nerve hearing loss. A specialized x-ray will usually show the extent of the Otosclerosis. Medical treatment can prevent this type of nerve hearing loss from getting worse. In your case, if we suspect nerve hearing loss from Otosclerosis, we will recommend this special x-ray
A stapedectomy is performed under general anesthesia, requires only a few days of hospitalization and a short convalescence. Before surgery, the ear is anesthetized by the use of ear drops and an injection of a local anesthesia. At the beginning of the operation, a small piece of tissue is taken from behind the ear. The ear drum is then carefully turned and the fixed stapes and the Otosclerosis are removed. The tissue is placed over the opening that the stapes formerly occupied. A stainless steel prosthesis that replaces the fixed stapes is put into position on the tissue graft and is connected to the normal second bone of the ear. Finally, the eardrum is replaced into its original position.
Now the sound travels from the eardrum to the first two ear bones and then through the steel replacement prosthesis to the hearing nerve. Since the fixed stapes is now removed and the hearing chain is once again movable, the hearing improvement obtained is usually permanent. The only further hearing loss expected would be related to the normal aging process or to the toxin from Otosclerosis that is now controlled by medicine.